Making Strange: The Modernist Photobook in France
Yale University Press, 2020
France experienced a golden age of photobook production from the late 1920s through the 1950s. Avant-garde experiments in photography, text, design, and printing, within the context of a growing modernist publishing scene, contributed to an outpouring of brilliantly designed books. Making Strange offers a detailed examination of photobook innovation in France, exploring seminal publications by Brassaï, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Frank, Pierre Jahan, William Klein, and Germaine Krull. Kim Sichel argues that these books both held a mirror to their time and created an unprecedented modernist visual language. Sichel provides an engaging analysis through the lens of materiality, emphasizing the photobook as an object with which the viewer interacts haptically as well as visually. Rich in historical context and beautifully illustrated, Making Strange reasserts the role of French photobooks in the history of modern art.